The Penalties for Making A False Statement to NSW Police

Sahar Adatia.

People truly do insane things for money.

In fact, in the pursuit of said money, some are even willing to turn a blind eye to crime – whatever it takes to get their hands on the dosh.

For real life proof, take the example of 20-year-old English woman, Leah Jumeaux, who recently made headlines after she staged her own kidnapping in an attempt to con her boyfriend out of £2,000 – the equivalent of AUD$3,800.

The only problem was, her plan completely failed, and instead of pocketing cash, she landed herself a court hearing, a prison sentence, and a victim surcharge payment.

The incident goes back to October 2020 when Ms Jumeaux sent her boyfriend photos of herself bound and gagged alongside a gun.

The woman, from Blackpool, Lancashire, then posed as a kidnapper, and demanded a ransom of £2,000 from him, in exchange for her own safe return. 

Nevertheless, her whacky ploy failed when the matter was reported to police.

Ms Jumeaux was arrested and forced to disclose her scheme.

When interviewed by officers, she admitted she fabricated the whole incident – all because she wanted the money to buy Christmas presents for her family.

“Story Quickly Fell Apart”: Ms Jumeaux Faces Court Over Staged Kidnapping

In January 2022, Ms Jumeaux faced Preston Crown Court over the matter, which saw her face charges of false representation and blackmail.

Inside the court, it was heard the woman’s “behaviour and actions were “bizarre”.

“She staged a kidnap in a failed attempt to con money out of a former boyfriend, posing tied up with a gun next to her,” Detective Constable Lisa Carr of Lancashire Police said.

“When the matter was reported to police, Jumeaux’s story quickly fell apart, with her admitting in interview she wanted the money to buy Christmas presents for her family.”

Ms Jumeaux was sentenced to 34 weeks at a young offenders’ institution for the crime.

Following her sentencing, the 20-year-old was also ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend a victim surcharge of £156 as compensation for her actions.

“I hope a custodial sentence will give her time to reflect the gravity of her actions and learn from her very serious mistakes,” Detective Constable Carr said.

“Public Mischief”: Why Making a False Statement to Police Unlawful…

As most would assume, making a false statement to police – otherwise known as “public mischief” – is unlawful.

Indeed, as far as criminal activity is concerned, authorities significantly depend on the information passed on to them by the public to guide investigations.

As such, providing false information to police can lead to disruptions and diversions, as well as wasted time and resources, which often comes at the expense of other important cases that need to be resolved.

With this in mind, public mischief is taken seriously by the courts and the penalties are harsh to reflect this.

The Penalties for Making A False Statement to NSW Police

In NSW, pursuant to section 547B of the Crimes Act 1990, there is a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail or a fine of $5,500 or both, where a person knowingly makes a false representation or statement to a police officer that an act has been, or will be, done or that any event has occurred, or will occur, which calls for an investigation by a police officer.

In fact, according to this section, a person is deemed to make a representation to a police officer even if the person makes the representation to any other person and the nature of the representation reasonably requires that other person to communicate it to a police officer and that person does so communicate it.It should also be noted that in NSW, public mischief offences are dealt with in the Local Court before a magistrate.

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